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Belgium formally joins the MMF program.

| 2018

Belgium today signed a MoU which will see the country officialy join the European/NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF). Belgium’s accession to the MMF was celebrated during a signing ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels also attended by EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq.

Belgium formally joins the MMF progra 925 001 An artistic rendering of the Airbus A330 MRTT refuelling a F-35 Lightning II fighter jet
(Credit: EDA)

The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Norway are already members of this multinational defence cooperation project which aims to fill the serious capability gap European nations have in the field of Air-to-Air refuelling (AAR).

According to the country's Strategic Vision, the Belgian MoD plans to spend up to 300M by 2030 for the acquisition of one A330MRTT.

The MMF project was initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2011. Europe’s organization for the management of cooperative armament programmes - OCCAR - manages the MMF acquisition phase. Following the acquisition phase, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet (A330 MRTT). With Belgium joining, the number of MRTT aircraft ordered will increase from 7 to 8. Delivery of the first aircraft is planned for 2020.

The fleet is funded by the participating nations who will also have the exclusive right to use these NATO–owned aircraft which will operate in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for inflight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation flights.

EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq welcomed the further expansion of the fleet: “We are delighted to see that the MMF, which is a good example of European defence cooperation kick-started by the European Defence Agency, is further expanding. It shows that once a capability shortfall has been jointly identified, European nations can pull together, work on a common project aimed at filling the gap, and eventually deliver. It’s Pooling & Sharing at its best”.

The MMF project was initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2012 and the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement (OCCAR) manages the acquisition as the NATO Support and Procurement Agency’s Contract Executing Agent. The acquisition phase was launched in July 2016 with the signing of the original contract and includes the first two years of support. Following the acquisition phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet.

The delivery of the eight A330 MRTT aircraft currently on contract from Airbus Defence and Space’s tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid is expected between 2020 and 2022.


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